Flash Gordon

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“Flash Gordon” is a science fiction film of 1980 directed by Mike Hodges and based on comic book characters created by Alex Raymond. The film follows the adventures of young American athlete Flash Gordon, played by Sam J. Jones, who is catapulted into space together with his friend Dale Arden, played by Melody Anderson, to fight the evil emperor Ming the Merciless, played by Max von Sydow .

The film is famous for its soundtrack, composed and performed by the rock group Queen, and for its special effects, which were state of the art for the time. The film had a great impact on popular culture and became a classic of the science fiction genre.

‘Flash Gordon’ received mixed reviews upon its release, but has become a cult movie over the years due to its combination of action, adventure and humor. The film has also inspired several spin-offs, such as comic books and television series, and influenced many other subsequent science fiction films.

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Plot

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The story of “Flash Gordon” follows the adventures of the young American athlete Flash Gordon, who suddenly finds himself catapulted into space with his friend Dale Arden due to a series of mysterious events. Also traveling with them is Dr. Hans Zarkov, a brilliant scientist who created a rocket to explore space.

The group lands on the planet Mongo, ruled by the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless, who has enslaved much of the planet’s population and threatens to destroy Earth. Flash, Dale, and Zarkov join the resistance against Ming, which is led by Prince Barin and Ming’s daughter Princess Aura.

The Flash’s mission is to find a way to stop Ming and save the Earth, but to do so he will have to overcome a series of deadly dangers, including giant monsters, aerial dogfights, and a series of challenges including a duel against Ming the Merciless. With the help of his allies, the Flash must fight against the forces of evil to save the Earth and free the people of Mongo from the tyranny of the Ming.

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Movie Characters

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Here are the main characters of the movie “Flash Gordon”:

Flash Gordon: the protagonist of the film, a young American athlete who suddenly finds himself catapulted into space and forced to fight against the evil emperor Ming the Merciless. He is played by Sam J. Jones.

Dale Arden: The Flash’s traveling companion, who joins him in the fight against Ming. She is played by Melody Anderson.

Ming the Merciless: The evil emperor of the planet Mongo, who has enslaved much of the population and threatens to destroy the Earth. He is played by Max von Sydow.

Doctor Hans Zarkov: A brilliant scientist who created a rocket to explore space and who joins the Flash and Dale in their mission against Ming. It is played by Topol.

Princess Aura: Ming’s daughter, who helps Flash and the others in their mission. It is played by Ornella Muti.

Prince Barin: A Mongo nobleman who leads the resistance against Ming. He is played by Timothy Dalton.

Klytus: Ming’s chief guard. He is played by Peter Wyngarde.

Vultan: King of the Hawkmen, who aids Flash and the others in their fight against Ming. He is played by Brian Blessed.

General Kala: The commander of the Ming army. She is played by Mariangela Melato.

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Production

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The film “Flash Gordon” was produced by the Dino De Laurentiis Company and directed by Mike Hodges. The screenplay was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and the film was distributed by Universal Pictures.

Production of the film took place at various locations in England, including Pinewood Studios. The film’s budget was around $35 million, which was a considerable sum for a science fiction film at the time.

Director Mike Hodges chose to use chroma key technology to create the film’s special effects, which allowed the actors to be integrated into the background scenes more realistically. In addition, the film was one of the first to use a Dolby Stereo sound recording system, which made Queen’s soundtrack even more impressive.

The soundtrack to the film was composed and performed by Queen, and was a major commercial success. The film’s lead song, “Flash”, became a classic of the group and achieved international success.

While the film received mixed reviews upon its release, it has gained a cult following over the next several years and has influenced many other science fiction films. The director also announced plans to make a sequel to the film, but the project never came to fruition.

Distribution and Reception

The film “Flash Gordon” was released in theaters in the United States on December 5, 1980 and grossed approximately $27 million. Despite not achieving major commercial success, the film has gained a cult following over the years.

Reviews of the film were mixed upon its release, but in the following years the film has been re-evaluated positively for its unique style and its contribution to the popular culture of the 80s.

In particular, Queen’s soundtrack was widely praised, and the film’s lead song, “Flash”, became a group classic.

The film also influenced many other science fiction films and inspired many subsequent works in the genre, including Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

Overall, ‘Flash Gordon’ is regarded as a classic of 80s sci-fi cinema and continues to be loved by fans of the genre.

Style

The style of the film “Flash Gordon” is unique and recognizable thanks to the use of bright and opulent colors, elaborate costumes and a rock soundtrack by Queen.

Director Mike Hodges wanted to create an atmosphere of fantasy and fun through the use of sets and costumes that seem to come from an alien world, full of details and bright colors. This created a very different atmosphere compared to other science fiction films of the time, which were often darker and more gloomy.

Furthermore, the film features a plot that mixes elements of science fiction, adventure and romance, with a light and funny tone. The protagonist Flash Gordon, played by Sam J. Jones, is a classic hero with a strong sense of justice, but the film is not lacking in comedic and self-deprecating moments.

Queen’s soundtrack, which contributed significantly to the success of the film, consists of energetic and catchy rock songs, which perfectly match the mood of the film.

In general, the style of the film “Flash Gordon” is unique and recognizable, thanks to its combination of bright colors, elaborate costumes, light humor and Queen’s rock soundtrack.

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Director

Mike-Hodges

The director of “Flash Gordon” is Mike Hodges, a British director born in Bristol in 1932. Hodges has worked in both television and film, and is known for directing a variety of films in different genres, including noir, drama, comedy and science fiction.

Before directing “Flash Gordon”, Hodges had already directed other successful films, including “Get Carter” (1971), a noir film with Michael Caine, and “A Prayer for the Dying” (1987), a drama with Mickey Rourke and Bob Hoskins.

Hodges brings his unique creative style to the film “Flash Gordon,” with an eye for detail and characterization. He also chose to use chroma key technology to create the film’s special effects, which allowed the actors to be integrated into the background scenes more realistically.

The director worked closely with Queen soundtrack composer Freddie Mercury and chose to use the group’s music prominently in the film.

Director Mike Hodges created a unique and entertaining sci-fi film that left an indelible mark on 80s popular culture.

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